There’s a cool breeze off Blood Lake today. The wind’s coming down from the north, and it’s a sign of what’s to come.
It’ll be a cold winter, and I’ll start laying in some extra wood tomorrow. There are many things that make life comfortable, but one of the finest is a good fire. I’ll set some wood aside in here as well, for I suspect I’ll be spending a fair amount of time in the Child’s House.
I received a new packet of tobacco from a family in Virginia that supplies me with a goodly amount, and as I pack the pipe, I remember the first time I smoked it.
I was at the edge of my drive, speaking with Colin Ashbury, lately of Chelmsford, when his head exploded. The sound of the shot came through a second later as I reached my hands up to wipe skin and bone and brains off my face. Colin, sans head, lay on the ground. Further up the road, I spotted the tell-tale sign of muzzle smoke rising up, and I decided to leave bathing for later.
Drawing my Colts, I went after whatever bushwhacking sonofabitch was in the Hollow.
Whoever he was, he had nerves of steel.
A second shot was fired, spinning me around as the bullet pierced my chest, punched its way through my lung, and exited close to another rib.
Despite the pain, I kept running.
He knew he hit me, and the fact that I didn’t drop set him off.
I heard the rattle of the man’s rifle as it fell from the top of an elm tree and struck just about every branch on the way down.
He did the same a moment later when I fired off a quick couple of shots at the upper branches where I thought he might be.
The man let out a howl of dismay as he struck the ground and rolled, trying to get to his feet. The .44’s slugs had ripped through his legs, though, and he knew what was coming.
He swore and cursed in German as he attempted to crawl away.
I followed along behind him, shooting him in the knees and then the lower back. He stretched out, desperate for assistance, and I shot him in the hand, blowing it apart.
I’d been fond of Colin. He was a good, solid neighbor.
His death had been quick.
The man on the ground in front of me? His would be anything but.